Joshua, age 16, dials up his brother’s cell phone. No answer. He dials again. Still no answer. Again. Again. And again. Why doesn’t he pick up, he wonders?
Joshua is in a hospital bed. His 17-year-old brother, Matthew, who was in the same horrific accident that sent Joshua to the hospital, is dead.
That was the sad scene described in The Des Moines Register this week after an SUV slid out of control and into a tree in an early morning crash that killed three and sent four to the hospital. Six were between the ages of 14 and 17; the driver was 22.
Tragedies like this leave gaping holes in families. “What are the next steps?” asked Matthew’s mother. “When they’re gone, it’s like you can’t turn back the clock.”
Matthew left behind a pregnant girlfriend. They planned to live together after she gave birth in November. She wants to “be sure her baby knows how much her daddy wanted to be there for her.”
Matthew spent most of his life in Texas before the family moved to Iowa last year. That’s where he met his girlfriend. His mother wants to have him buried in Texas.
It’s always difficult to teach a child about a parent that child never knew but Matthew’s girlfriend faces the additional challenge of passing on the legacy of a person she knew a relatively short time and who may be buried nearly 1,000 miles away.
I hope she follows through and preserves that essential bit of family history for her unborn child.
Another local blogger, Janet Green of DMweblife, has posted on the same situation, reflecting on the role of parents and how they might help avoid such tragedies. Coincidentally, Janet, who occasionally features local bloggers on her site, featured me the same day. Thanks, Janet.